The Sins of Our Fathers: Beyond Imperfections

Jun. 24, 2006

Joan SocoWhen I was a child, I knew my father to be a very strict man. He would gather us, his first four children, on weekends — and punish us for our mistakes that week. He used to spank us with his belt or with bamboo sticks. I was always scared of him.

But there were times when he would save us from Mamas slippers. When I was in Grade Two, mother would force me to memorize the multiplication table, but I would always forget these things. There were times that I would stay up late, crying while studying because of her spanking. Fortunately, my father would arrive from work and the sound of his motorcycle meant relief for me. Aside from making Mama stop from spanking us, he would also take her place in teaching us math and, voila!, math suddenly seemed so easy.

His strict demeanor, however, didnt disappear.

My relationship with my father during my adolescent years were somewhat ambivalent. I and my three siblings had different views of him and different ideals we expected of him. We would have conflicts. Soon, this ambivalence turned to fear, which then turned somehow into bitterness. There were times when I did not want to go home anymore because of these feelings.

But Papa was consistent in disciplining me, so I was able to keep myself on track with my studies and even with my outlook in life.

Like every human being, Papa also had his highs and lows as a father. He also committed mistakes against us, his children, which affected me in not-so-positive ways. There was even a point when I had so many questions about him and his misgivings to us. To some extent, I judged him.

As years go by, however, I have learned to acknowledge that Papa had tried to rectify his mistakes. What right have I got, then, to continue judging him as a person?

I understand that it is never easy leading a family; being a father does not immunize you from making mistakes. All of us commit mistakes, not because we want to but because there are times in our lives when we think certain decisions or actions are best, only to realize later that were wrong.

Every father who dreams and works hard, despite his mistakes, deserves nothing but high regard from his children.

(Ms. Soco is a student of Mass Communications and International Studies at the Ateneo de Davao, where she also served as president of Samahan, the student government. She was the 2003 Mutya ng Dabaw. She wrote about her mother in her previous column.)

comments powered by Disqus